The folly of Ergenekon
The Ergenekon investigation was expected to open a way for democratization in Turkey. It was assumed that the so-called “deep state” would be deciphered and eventually eliminated by this investigation. Even the famous Gladio case in Italy could not realize such a result, as the Swiss historian Danielle Ganser stated in an interview (Taraf, Aug. 2, 2010). Nonetheless, the democrats of Turkey chose to believe in the fairy tale they had written.
In fact, the Ergenekon case still could pave the way for more transparency and democratization in Turkey, since any move for the elimination of the previous status quo promised new chances. Yet, it became clear from the beginning that the Ergenekon court case was directed against only the guards of the previous status quo who posed a threat to the political power of the conservative government. The elimination of the previous status quo and the chance for more a democratic system could only be achieved if Turkey could be reloaded along new lines, altering the rotten status quo politics concerning Cyprus politics, the revision of the official view on the “Armenian genocide” and most importantly serious policy change on the Kurdish issue. In the beginning, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government seemed to consider such a transformation but failed to engage in, let alone to realize such a troubled mission for various reasons, be it ideological or practical. As a result, the investigation case turned to be a sham soon after it was opened. Yet, the democrats of Turkey who invested all their hopes in this case refused to recognize the fact that the wrongs of the investigation process were not exceptional or pardonable, but vital. That is why the case could easily be turned into a political tool to silence dissent and criticism.
In fact, the starting point of the case was misleading since it defined the roots of authoritarianism and/or the democracy deficit by a narrow understanding of Turkish politics or of politics in general. It turned out to be that the root of the political problem in Turkey was military coups motivated by Kemalism and/or the whims of military men. Recent political history was revised along these lines and an instant new history was written, that the good forces of democracy eventually won with the rise of the AKP and defeated the dark forces of Kemalism, as if history jumped from the ‘30s and ‘40s to the 2000s with emphasis on the Kemalist postmodern coup of February 28.
Those who were not disturbed by the shortcomings of this political and historical discourse nowadays seem to be disappointed by the end of the story. Nevertheless, it was a story that they contributed a lot to by labeling all sorts of political criticism as “a defense of military coups” and by permanently congratulating themselves for being “überdemocrats,” rather than considering the dark side of the process. Now they complain about “civil tyranny;” once they claimed that it was nonsense, a few years ago. Still, nobody deserves to be condemned for their folly or arrogance (of claiming to know the ultimate truth). Finally it is the governing party that is responsible for today’s rights and wrongs.